The Punjab & Haryana High Court has warned that persons who wear masks leaving their mouth and/or nose exposed would be treated on the same footing as those not wearing masks at all.
While hearing a petition filed on the COVID-19 situation in the State of Haryana, a Bench of Justices Rajan Gupta and Karamjit Singh stated,
“Persons who wear the masks casually leaving their mouth and/or nose exposed would be treated on the same footing as those not wearing the mask at all and liable to same punitive action.”
The Court also directed the states of Punjab and Haryana to depute officials of the municipal bodies/health authorities to ensure that mask etiquettes are followed by general public.
Additional Advocate General for Haryana Ankur Mittal informed the Court that nodal agencies in every district – headed by the Deputy Commissioner, concerned Superintendent of Police, a representative of the Municipal Council/Corporation and a civil surgeon – were functional.
He added that the Secretary of the Legal Services Authority in every district would also be a member of the said Committee.
Advocate Navkiran Singh brought to the notice of the Court the fact that certain private hospitals were charging exorbitant fees and were fleecing the public. This, he said, was happening due to lack of control by the authorities.
The states assured the Court that such grievance would be promptly looked into and that punitive measures shall be taken against such private hospitals and medical institutions, if the situation so warrants. They added that surprise checks shall also be conducted by the concerned authorities on such private facilities.
Furthermore, the government representative provided a number of assurances to the Bench over the COVID-19 preparedness.
As such, no further orders were passed by the Court and the petition was thereby disposed of with liberty to the amicus curiae to seek revival of the petition, if necessary.
The states have been ordered to file a status report regarding day-to-day developments in every district by way of a short affidavit in the Registry within a week.